Technical Drawing or Work of Art?

Unfortunately I’m very aware of the skill, patience and precision that is required to produce accurate technical drawings by hand.  Whilst completing my Diploma in Interior Design I was required to learn the ‘art’ of technical drawing and I quickly learned that I wasn’t a fan of technical drawing the ‘old fashioned’ way.

It was a time-consuming, gut-wrenching and prematurely aging process.

An eraser became my best friend; trust me, I didn’t want it to become my best friend.  As soon as I realised that devising to scale floor plans and elevations were going to feature heavily in my studies (not forgetting the lasting indents that were appearing on my fingertips) that I decided to bite the bullet and teach myself AutoCAD.

BUT it’s only because I have experience (whilst limited) of creating technical drawings by hand that I can fully appreciate, admire and respect this craft.

Floor Plans

But nothing prepared me for the mix of emotions that I experienced when I was able to hold and scrutinise original technical drawings and elevations dating back to 1890.

Some of the drawings were dog-eared; some crinkled and if very unlucky a little torn.  Most of the drawings were in bundles that were tied with string or ribbon and after untying these little historic bundles I gingerly unfolded each one like my life depended on it.

They all had that unique aged smell and every time I leafed through another drawing or unfolded another section the fresh aroma of ‘history’ wafted into the air.

The drawings I’m referring to are of course the original plans of the proposed extension to the Belfast Harbour Office.  All of these drawings were dated 1890 and were signed by the architect, WH Lynn.

Even the elaborate annotations on each drawing and associated neatly handwritten memos stopped me in my tracks; fluid lines, delicate sweeping curves and the odd ink smudge here and there that only served to heighten the sense of history surrounding these Victorian documents.

Belfast Harbour Office Exterior

The Belfast Harbour Office as it looks today

It was a no-brainer; as soon as I stumbled upon these documents courtesy of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, I paid to have each and every one photocopied.

And here they are in all their dog-eared, crinkly glory.

Victorian Floor Plans - Belfast Harbour Office 2

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Kinda makes the all-singing and all-dancing AutoCAD floor plan very unimpressive, right?

6 Comments

  1. Since I was about 7 technical drawings has been my favourite school subject (yes, in Polish education in the early 90s we had technical drawing classes in primary school!). There is something about it, the feeling that you just don’t get with CAD. Unfortunately these days the projects are so big and the deadlines so short that it is not practically possible to produce drawings by hand. Another one of many crafts that’s slowly dying out.

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  2. Caz says:

    Hi Anita, Your technical drawings are fantastic! I too am an Interior Design Student 🙂 You have mentioned that you have self taught yourself a lot of the CAD software; do you have any useful tips? I have recently purchased an Autocad for dummies book and downloaded the student version… Just so much to take in dont quite know where to begin! Thanks in advance for your advice 🙂 Caz x

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    • Caz says:

      Hi Anita, Your technical drawings are fantastic! I too am an Interior Design Student 🙂 You have mentioned that you have self taught yourself a lot of the CAD software; do you have any useful tips? I have recently purchased an Autocad for dummies book and downloaded the student version… Just so much to take in dont quite know where to begin! Thanks in advance for your advice 🙂 Caz x

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  3. anitadesignstudio says:

    Hi Caz! Thanks for dropping by 🙂 I bought AutoCAD for Dummies too and I would still refer to it now and again but the YouTube tutorials are by far the best option when you’re starting out. I found the book difficult to follow because I just couldn’t get my head around the AutoCAD interface. But when I followed some of the online tutorials, things started to fall into place. THEN I was able to make better sense of the book!! Self-teaching AutoCAD is definitely doable!! If I can do it, anyone can!! Go for it, girlie!! 🙂

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    • Caz says:

      Hi Anita, Your technical drawings are fantastic! I too am an Interior Design Student 🙂 You have mentioned that you have self taught yourself a lot of the CAD software; do you have any useful tips? I have recently purchased an Autocad for dummies book and downloaded the student version… Just so much to take in dont quite know where to begin! Thanks in advance for your advice 🙂 Caz x

      Like

  4. Caz says:

    Hi Anita
    Thanks for the quick reply! Your advice is greatly appreciated! : ) Makes sense! I too, have found the autocad for dummies book a little overwhelming!… Brain overload! I’m sure it will better utilised once I can attend the next NDA workshop and get my head around the basics! Youve been great! Thanks again! Speak soon 🙂 caz xx

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